Exploring the Challenges of Developing New Vehicle Infotainment Systems

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Technavio analysts expect the global in-vehicle entertainment and information systems market to post a CAGR of 14.82 percent during the 2014-2019 forecast period.

Although this market is posting some impressive growth, it isn’t without its hurdles. Here are the top three challenges that vendors face when designing more advanced in-vehicle entertainment and information systems:

Source of Distraction for Drivers

Distracted driving is considered one of the prime reasons of accidents worldwide. According to a study conducted by NHTSA and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, in the US, about 80% of  automobile accidents and about 65% of near-accidents are a result of driver distraction within three seconds of near-miss or an accident. In 2013, according to the US Department of Transportation, 3,154 people were killed in distracted driving accidents.

Automobile manufacturers offer voice-activated in-vehicle entertainment and information devices as high-tech safety options, but the usage of these while driving is considered as dangerous as using hand-held devices. The reason being these systems are innovative and new but complex to operate compared to using hand-held devices.

For instance, in a study conducted in collaboration with the University of Utah and AAA, researchers rated a few in-vehicle entertainment and information systems for driver distraction on a scale of 1-5.


Rising Security Issues

Automotive telematics applications in in-vehicle information systems use wireless communication systems that are prone to hacking and theft of information. These modern systems offer Internet connectivity combined with real-time updates and information. However, access to such information provides an opening for breach of information and threat of malicious software.

In addition, the major concern is the passage of malware through in-vehicle entertainment and information systems to other in-car networks such as CAN bus. This malware may link the in-vehicle entertainment and information systems to the automobile’s critical functions.

Therefore, by connecting the laptop or mobile devices to the automobile’s onboard diagnostic port, hackers can seize control of the vehicle’s central functions such as engine and brakes.

The advanced systems require the exchange of personal information between the driver or passengers and the automobile manufacturer service center, which can be hacked easily. Such issues question the security of automotive telematics and hinder market growth.

Design Complexity

The integration of numerous applications such as social networking applications and GPS navigation in a single in-vehicle entertainment and information system is complex and hinders the adoption of these systems in vehicles. Automobile manufacturers in Europe, such as GM, Mercedes-Benz, and Toyota, are working on making applications available through MirrorLink. This in turn, is creating difficulty for OEMs such as Ford US to operate, as the company will have to add new applications to their platform in a similar manner, increasing their production costs.

The presence of different API and SDKs, and non-standardized platforms further leads to complexities as software and content developers have to customize solutions for every platform. In addition, to enable the usage of connected services in line with designing and developing a non-distracting user interface, increases production costs for OEMs and Tier1 suppliers.

Some of the other challenges faced during the designing and development process of in-vehicle entertainment and information systems solutions are listed below.